Jamie Oliver, JCB billionaire Sir Anthony Bamford and celebrity hairstylist John Frieda are just some of the names on the City & Guilds Vocational Rich List of people who made their fortunes without getting a degree.
Sir Anthony topped the poll after seeing his family fortune shoot up to £2.15 billion this year, a situation that appeared to contradict Lord Alan Sugar’s recent comment that he had yet to meet an engineer “who can turn his hand to business”. A total of 24 of the top 100 vocational millionaires, including Bamford, made their fortune after undertaking an engineering apprenticeship.
In fact, it was entrepreneurs from industry, which included the high tech sector, that lead the way this year, accounting for 30% of those on the 2011 List, up from 9% in 2008. They were followed by the property and construction sector with 25 millionaires and leisure with 10.
Chris Jones, chief executive and director general of City & Guilds, said: “Our latest Vocational Rich List proves you don’t need a degree to succeed. The List not only celebrates the success of Britain’s leading business men and women, but also serves as an inspiration to other to discover their talent and unlock their potential through vocational education and skills training.”
Dragon’s Den judge and leisure industry magnate Deborah Meadon (joint 63rd) with a fortune valued at £40 million was one of only a handful of women on the list. Others included fashionistas Linda Bennett, founder of LK Bennett (41st), Karen Millen (joint 63rd), Stella McCartney and cook and food writer Delia Smith (joint 89th).
Delia was also joined by a number of other well-known TV chefs, however, including Jamie Oliver (33rd), Rick Stein (79th) and Gary Rhodes (100th), all of whom started their careers after having completed a vocational catering qualification.
The seventh edition of the List was independently compiled by Philip Beresford, author of the annual Sunday Times Rich List, and revealed that participants were worth a collective £17.6 billion, a billion pound increase over 2008. Some 94 of the top 100 were self-made millionaires rather than having been born into wealth and one in five were Geminis.
The study was released to coincide with the launch of the WorldSkills London 2011 competition, which is scheduled to take place from 5-8 October. The competition is intended to bring together 1,000 young people from around the world to compete in 46 skills areas across seven sectors ranging from health, public services and care to arts, media and publishing.